Do Maillard Reactions Explain Dinosaur Proteins? | The Institute for Creation Research
Do Maillard Reactions Explain Dinosaur Proteins?

How could dinosaur proteins persist over 70 million years inside dinosaur bones? That’s one of the biggest questions that secular paleontologists have faced in the last two decades. Many of them reason that some unique but undiscovered set of conditions grant proteins power to defy all odds and somehow survive unimaginable time scales. They think someone, someday, will discover the protein’s secret to survival. A new model suggests those long-sought conditions have come forth. And the once-secret rescuing device has a name: Maillard reactions. Does this common chemistry really explain the issue like its champions suggest, or does it leave ancient organics just as frail as ever?

Maillard reactions happen when proteins react with sugars to form dark-colored polymers. It’s what makes bread crusts and puts the outer crust on French fries. It happens between 280 and 330 °F—temperatures that some fossils reached while buried deep beneath the earth. A new feature in the journal Science highlights the recent toast model of Jasmina Wiemann and her former supervising professor Derek Briggs at Yale University.1 They claimed in 2018 that this crusty protein-turned-polymer “explains the preservation of fragile soft tissues in certain chemical environments through deep time.”2

The new feature in Science shows that deep-time advocates are latching onto the toast model of tissue preservation.3 Those hopping on this bandwagon believe that the model’s premise rolls along just fine. However, four failures break off the wheels of this toast model.

First, the toast model teaches that the original proteins have turned into crusty polymers, but several technical papers have reported quite soft, flexible, stretchy protein-packed tissues in fossils.4

Second, the toast model teaches that the original proteins turned into dark polymers, and yet several researchers have reported clear, white, and light-colored proteins in fossils.

A third failure comes from the fact that nobody actually knows how long these polymers can last, let alone that they could last tens of millions of years. Synthetic polymers, like plastics, should be stronger than toasted tissues, yet they begin degrading before our very eyes. Gretchen Vogel wrote in the Science feature that the polymers “can apparently last for eons.”1 This is only “apparent” to those already committed to the idea of “eons.” The polymers lasted for millions of years for those who assume the fossils are that old. Meanwhile, nobody has yet run decay experiments on AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End products) or ALE’s (Advanced Lipoxidation End products).

A final failure offers an even greater threat to the toast model bandwagon’s progress. Even though the fossils that Wiemann and Briggs selected have Maillard-derived polymers, those polymers may have nothing to do with the presence of actual proteins detected and even sequenced from dinosaur and other remains.4 Explaining the origins of saran wrap sidesteps the origins of the steak it covers.

Do Maillard reactions really rescue soft tissue fossils from the ravages of deep time? Only in the minds of those who care about rescuing millions of years more than they care about accurate science. The idea that these fossils formed thousands, not millions, of years ago explains both original organics in fossils and protein decay rates.

References
1. Vogel, G. 2019. Seeing Fossils in a New Light. Science. 366 (6462): 176-178.
2. Wiemann, J. et al., 2018. Fossilization transforms vertebrate hard tissue proteins into n-heterocyclic polymers. Nature Communications. 9: 4741.
3. Thomas, B. Soft Tissue Fossils Preserved by Toasting? Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org December 20, 2018, accessed September 16, 2019.
4. See references in Thomas, B., S. Taylor, and K. Anderson. 2019. Some strengths and weaknesses of the polymer shield explanation for soft tissue fossils. Journal of Creation. 33 (2): 6-9.

Dr. Brian Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research.

The Latest
NEWS
Seals Help Swedes to Chart ‘Paths of the Seas’
Swedish researchers have recently reported some newly documented “paths of the seas”1,2 thanks to some helpful (and high-tech) Weddell...

NEWS
Design Principles Confer Optimal Light Harvesting in Plants
Photosynthesis in plants starts with the absorption of light energy from sunlight, but scientists have been baffled as to how plants utilize the noisy...

NEWS
Titan Receding from Saturn Faster than Expected
Data obtained from the Cassini space probe show that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is receding away from Saturn a hundred times faster than scientists...

NEWS
Evolutionists Struggle to Explain Canadian-Australian Connection
A new species of a split-footed lacewing was recently unearthed in British Columbia, Canada, creating a bit of controversy among secular paleontologists.1...

NEWS
Surveillance Tracing: Red Pandas in Himalayan Nepal
It’s tough to be a red panda in this fallen world, especially after the global Flood. Conservationists are satellite tracking red pandas in...

NEWS
Maine Lobsters Make International News
The life of a Maine lobster is mostly a matter of crawling around on muddy continental shelf seafloors, not far from a coastline. Benthic scavenging is...

NEWS
Should We Grouse About Not Seeing Grouse?
A recent report in Chesapeake Bay Journal laments the decline in ruffed grouse populations in the Chesapeake watershed region of its natural range. Ruffed...

NEWS
Meet Dr. G: Roller Skating, Evangelism, and a Changed Life
Have you heard the news? ICR’s Board of Trustees recently appointed Dr. Randy Guliuzza to be ICR’s new President & Chief Operating Officer....

NEWS
Honeybees: How Sweet It Is, Again
After some scary population downturns and scarier rumors of bee populations crashing, honeybees are making a comeback, populationally speaking.1,2...

NEWS
Dolphins Learn Tricks from Peers to Catch Fish
Dolphins—like other cetaceans such as whales, wholphins, and porpoises—are highly intelligent marine mammals, capable of astonishing feats....